Discovering India: Belum Caves

A friend of mine came up with an interesting idea on India’s 69 Independence day. He posted the following on Facebook –

Like we have ‘Birthday resolutions ‘, why not make some ‘Independence Day’ resolutions… Something that we would do for our ‘Desh’

For this we can all write in our ideas, n choose a few from the list as our resolutions for the country this year.

So rather than saying ‘iss Desh ka kuch nahi ho sakta’, lets identify, ‘hum apne Desh ke liye Kya karenge’.  Jai Hind 

Here is one of my resolutions – I will help build awareness of tourists spots within India. And so here is my second travel post (Leh was the first).

I heard of Belum caves for the first time two week ago from my wife (who read of it in a mail exchange in our apartment’s mail group). When I googled the place, I loved the photos and was surprised I had not heard of this place earlier.

A plan was made and on the 15th of August, my family got packed into an Innova and we were on our way.

The first phase of the journey – approximately 200 kilometers, took us 3 hours (we left Hyderabad at 9 AM via ORR, and then got on to the Bengaluru highway). We got to Kurnool and checked into a hotel (DVR Mansion – good hotel). Relaxed for a bit, stretched our legs and then headed on to the restaurant (Mint leaf) for lunch. The service was slow but the food was yummy. The highlights were the Andhra chicken curry and a particular chicken pulao…both of them spicy!

At 2 PM we started phase 2 of our journey and this time it took us 2 hours to cover the 100 odd kms. The roads were not as nice as the HYD – BLR highway, but fortunately it wasn’t bad either. We reached Belum and went directly to the caves.

Said to be the second largest cave in India, Belum caves has the distinction of being the longest cave in India. It was discovered in 1884, but became a tourist attraction only in 2002 (and I believe the government and we need to do a better job advertising this place so it gets more tourists). Only 1.5 kms of the 3.5 kms long cave is open to tourists. The caves are huge and the formations inside the cave are amazing, as are the textures (formed by the constant flow of underground water). It gets super-hot in there, and sultry (be sure to be dressed accordingly).

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There are spots where one has to walk side-ways (one person at a time) to pass through and some where you have to bend down low. We even had a ‘traffic jam’ inside when we had people waiting to walk both ways of a very narrow passage.

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Some areas are spooky and some look like they have been created by aliens. 🙂

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There are air shafts at some spots, so you can cool down.

Once out, we clicked a few pictures with the giant Buddha statue right outside and then we were on our way back. Spent the night at Kurnool and got back to Hyderabad the next day.

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We spent about an hour in the caves, and every moment was worth it. There were many ‘WOW!!’ moments, moments when we were awed at what nature can create. It’s a place I highly recommend.

Some might argue if it is worth traveling 5 hours just to see the caves. I have two answers for them –

  1. You bet it is
  2. Make the journey fun as well (with family / friends), so it’s enjoyable through and through.
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